Are you lucky?
Sometime back I had written about a book called Good to Great by Jim Collins. One of the characteristic the research for that book found is that most of the leaders of great companies tended to put luck as one of the key factors for their success. While at the control group – companies under similar circumstances which did not achieve the greatness though – the leaders were more characterised by preference to talk more about themselves and yes they too talked about luck – but this time bad luck. Jim Collins goes on to discuss what makes a company great – to bring some sense to this sense of luck for a company. This left me wondering what about us humans. I tend to consider myself very lucky – especially when it comes to my career. What is this concept of luck that we find refuge in – when things go wrong, and perhaps not as often when things go right. I was having one of those heated discussions with a colleague of mine and some thoughts crystalised in my head then. I have read quite a few biographies – not necessarily the historical type – mostly relevant from a business point of view (Alfred Sloan, Jack Welsh, Akio Morita, William Boeing and so on…) And some of them do mention luck, but they all without exception were at the right place at the right time. Or were they? Yes indeed they were, but I think all of us are quite a large number of times at the right place at the right time. Those who are lucky just seems to be able to seize that opportunity. These opportunies, in all respects chance opportunities, lucky people will have them and unlucky will not. Not least because they don’t exist for the unlucky ones, but because they don’t make use of it. So one of the first things I guess to be lucky is to use of these chance opportunies. And to do this, we must somehow be capable of seeing these opportunities to use them. And this is where I think a new skill is required – having a wandering eye. I think many of us miss these chance opportunities because we may be looking for something specific or just something else. The lucky people see what is there rather than just what they’re looking for. This is where having a heterogenoity of experience helps – from personal experience, reading and from others. Helps us to see much more opportunities which we would have missed. Adding a bit of variety perhaps helps, changing habitual patterns perhaps. Taking a different route to work before an important meeting now makes sense – not just as a supersition perhaps!
These opportunities need not always be external occurances. It could be an idea that comes to your head while you lie down in the tub taking a warm bath or while travelling in the train to work. We need to seize that idea and build upon that. Many exceptional success stories on observation falls into this category. (Am just reading another book – Losing my Virginity by Richard Branson, and this is very much the case with him.)
Moving beyond, we all have opportunities that we see and even seize, but not allof them materialise. I am pretty sure, whether you are lucky or not this is the case. But if you are the lucky kind, I think you would give what actually happened a positive spin, rather than grieving over what might or should have happened. Its like the case of the finals of a tennis match. The winner of the losers final – who gets the bronze medal I am sure feels much more upbeat than the loser of the final – winner of the silver. But if you are a lucky person, you might actually have the sense to be happy that you won the silver medal, and be online payday loans direct lenders only happier than the bronze medalist. Or if you met with an accident. I just finished watching a movie/television programme called Lost – where few passengers survive an aircraft crash – are these survivors lucky to be alive or unlucky to have got into that damn aircraft in the first place? Guess your answer to this question might tell you if you are lucky or not 😉